Chord Melody playing tips.

Discussion in 'Jazz, Acoustic, Classical & Fingerstyle' started by Mvotre, Mar 1, 2016.

  1. Mvotre

    Mvotre SS.org Regular

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    ok, so I started messing with this style right now. But I'm using some single notes, small chords, and without lots of extensions (those still sound "off" to my ears - I believe I need to play those more).

    Anyway, my question is: how I can make the gaps beetween chords smaller? Ok, I played a slow tune (for a first one, was a obvious choice). Should I use some effects to "blend" the notes more? Or just keep praticing every change with a metronome until I can change chords in miliseconds?

    [SC]https://soundcloud.com/user-891141476/all-the-things-you-are[/SC]

    By the way, forgive the sloppy playing, and the cheap ass mix (just a reverb on the basic track). I still need to read about mixing and equalizing... :lol:
     
  2. JonathanCooper

    JonathanCooper SS.org Regular

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    Hey Mvotre, that was a very pleasant tune and I enjoyed listening to it. To answer your question: Yes, part of it will be simply practicing to a metronome over and over again until your are able to change chords quickly. Start out at a very slow tempo and practice whatever it is your are playing until you don't have to think about what your hands are doing. Then you can start adding speed. Try a very VERY slow tempo one day and keep it at that speed. Then when you come back to it the next day, add 5 or 10 more bpm, but no more. Work at that speed. Then repeat the process until you are up to the appropriate speed. The key to playing fast IN TIME, is to be able to play slow.

    Another thing you could do (if you are writing your own music, or if the specific chord shape is not specified) is you try different shapes for the same chord. As you probably know, there are a dozen ways to play the same chord on a guitar. So they key is to find the shapes that are the closest together.

    Hope that helps!
     
  3. Zedism

    Zedism SS.org Regular

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    No Jazz player will ever use effects to accomplish what you're talking about achieving, they will just find a way to make it work. I'd suggest you always try hard before you seek an alternative route like that.

    Personally I'd say don't even think about working on making "gaps smaller" when you haven't fleshed out the harmony yet, what you seem to be having trouble with isn't switching chords super-fast, it's that you're moving too far across the fretboard to play those changes, you need to economize your chord movement.

    Play the melody over and over, without chords until it's thoroughly within you, until you can sing it without the instrument, then, play the changes by themselves, as written from their root positions. Then, take each individual chord, bar by bar, not all at once (very important, don't overwhelm yourself) and place the melody note on the top voice of those chords. If you have to move a note from the top of the chord to fit the melody, then do it, it's not necessary to have every note in the chord to feel the harmonic quality.

    The tough part about this is leading voices smoothly. The melody note should always be on the top of the chord and there should be as little movement as possible from chord to chord if you don't want to wear yourself out. If you think it's impossible to voice a chord properly from where you are, it might be, but it might very well not be. If it's too much to think about on the fly, right it out vertically, using notes, write the melody on top, and take it one chord at a time, back and forth.

    Study this sort of stuff enough and you'll eventually breach into inversion voicings, but I won't get into all that here. Just be patient with it and look very, very closely at what you're doing. Things will reveal themselves.
     
  4. shadowlife

    shadowlife Contributor

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    Look for the book "Jody Fisher's Jazz Guitar Chord Melody Course".
    It's an invaluable resource into this style of playing.
     
  5. Mvotre

    Mvotre SS.org Regular

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    hey, thanks for all the help.

    Zedism, you are right, man. I can "squeeze" everything a bit, to minimize movement. I recorded a crappy video and it really shows that I move a lot on the fretboard. Will mess a lot with my options now. Hey, I just need to start somewhere :lol:



    By the way, I just started studying the Jody Fisher book. Seens really nice.
     
  6. Stan P

    Stan P SS.org Regular

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    Hey, nothing is wrong with what you are doing - moving the right way. Some things that may help:
    1. Solo line positions- try to make the melody follow some arpeggio hand pattern - say rather than playing as many notes as possible on one string try to space them accross strings as much as you can. This will allow you to keep the chord fretted as while are playing the melody. Basically adding a few note to the chord create the melody.
    2. Minimum chords - it is sufficient to use 3rd and 7th of the chord + bass root
    3. Practice the chord changes and start adding notes for to the melody
    4. Use bass root or 3rd and 7th as needed - not all at the same time

    Just some rules I made for myself
     
  7. malaima

    malaima SS.org Regular

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    it's too much to think about on the fly, right it out vertically, using notes, write the melody on top, and take it one chord at a time, back and forth.[​IMG]
     
  8. Semi-pro

    Semi-pro SS.org Regular

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    I think you're heading to the right direction. Just a little more mileage - playing and playing and more playing. Next step to make it sound more interesting IMO would be to avoid landing all the notes on straight 4ths. I think that could help a lot to make it sound and feel (while playing) more natural. Try to think of the shuffle rhythm and find different rhythmical ways to interpret the melody when playing and even while not playing.
     

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